Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014 -- Córdoba, Spain

Today I finally visited the inside of the mosque. I also wanted to visit the Synagogue, but it is closed for renovation. That is a shame, because it is said to be one of only three synagogues in Spain remaining from medieval times. However, I did visit the neighboring Shephardic Jewish Museum.

The building that is commonly referred to as la Mozquita or the Mosque and is known to the Catholic Church as the Cathedral began its life as a Roman temple to the god Janus and later became a Visigoth church. After the Moors conquered Córdoba, it was divided into a Catholic and a Moslem section where both could worship. (The Moors were much more tolerant than are modern-day Islamic governments and today's Catholic Church.) Then the Moorish government purchased the land from the Christians and constructed one of the largest mosques in the world. When the Catholics reconquered Córdova, they converted the mosque into a cathedral, and officially it is a cathedral today, although as the following two photographs show, it still looks more like a mosque.

Since the year 2000, Islamic groups have been seeking permission to pray at the mosque, but the Spanish Catholic Church, the Spanish government, and the Vatican have all opposed the idea. That seems a shame to me, because having Moslems and Christians sharing a place of worship might be one small step toward reducing the friction between adherents of the two religions.

 There are some sections of the building that do look like a church. Small chapels are located all around the walls in the style of medieval churches, and the center of the vast building has bee converted into a place of catholic worship. The following picture shows the main altar.

The following two pictures show the ceiling in the part of the mosque that has most successfully been converted into a cathedral. Even here the geometric designs of Moorish architecture stand out.

There are stone remnants of the Visigoth church preserved in display cases. The following photo shows one of the displays.

As I mentioned, I also visited the Shephardic Jewish museum today. It was an informative visit, bit the displays were small and not easy to photograph. The following is a shot of the museum's courtyard.

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